12 Workers Are Killed On the Job Every Day in Our Country

Apr 25, 2013, 12:11 ET from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

Workers' Memorial Day Events over the Next Few Days Emphasize Safe Jobs for All

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over the next several days, and during the upcoming weekend, there will be thousands of workers participating in Workers' Memorial Day Observances throughout the Keystone State in remembrance of fallen co-workers, friends and family and in renewing the fight for safer jobs.

Workers' Memorial Day, observed on April 28th, has been designated as the time to remember fallen workers and surviving families, and to emphasize the promise of safe jobs.  April 28 is also the anniversary of the signing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, (OSHA).  With that signing, was the promise of the right to a safe workplace.   In spite of this promise, and the commitment and efforts of both workers and enlightened employers, 12 workers die on the job every day in the United States.   

"Every workplace injury is a tragedy and many of them are preventable," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said.  "Our commitment to each other is to be sure that worker safety is placed ahead of corporate profits.  At the time that OSHA was passed, Corporate America claimed these regulations would kill jobs.  We have always maintained that workplace safety not only saves lives but also creates a stronger America," Bloomingdale said.

"One life lost is one too many.  The Labor Movement was instrumental in the passage of OSHA and many other laws that have helped save the lives of millions of working people.  A union contract and a strong union presence in our economic and political life are still just as critical to safe jobs today as they were in previous generations.  Until the promise of safe jobs is a reality and the right to form a union is protected, our fight continues," Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder added.

Labor and community leaders will be joined by state and local elected officials, injured workers and the families of deceased workers in leading over a dozen ceremonies and remembrances.

Area Labor Federations, Central Labor Councils and Local Unions will be hosting these events, along with friends.  The events are on our website, at www.paaflcio.org, and the public is invited to these published events.  There will be prayer services, candlelight vigils, the laying of memorial wreaths, as well as the reading of names of deceased workers and the tolling of bells.   Dramatic visuals for still and video news photographers will be available at many of these events. 

The U.S. Labor Department reports that since the establishment of OSHA over 40 years ago, significant progress has been made in reducing job-related injuries and deaths.  In 1970, the year that OSHA was established, there were 14,000 deaths on the job in the United States.  In 2011 that number was 4,609 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or about 12 on the job deaths per day in the United States of America.

In addition to the fatalities that occurred nationwide in 2011, nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers.

SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO